Meaghan Smith Young

2009 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2009
Graduate Degree:Brandeis University
Undergraduate School:College of the Holy Cross
Areas of interest:Health Care Policy
Mentor:Tiziana Dearing, Director, Catholic Charities of Boston
Agency:Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Supervisor:Lea Ojamaa, Community Liaison Coordinator
Project Description:Meaghan worked with the Office of Community Liaisons within the MA Department of Public Health’s Prevention and Wellness Unit to provide practical policy recommendations for creating more livable communities for older adults in MA. She researched structural and environmental barriers to healthy aging at the local and state level and identified methods for implementing policy changes by examining Barnstable County’s "best practices." Barnstable County was chosen because of its concentrated aging demographic. She also worked with councils on aging in Barnstable County to both increase their awareness of the social determinants of health and to encourage them to rethink their role in shaping the built environment. Meaghan cannot overstate how great her experience was as a Rappaport Fellow. She sat down with her supervisor in early spring to discuss some of her unit’s needs. She then designed a project that would match those needs with skills she had and skills she wanted to develop further. The chance to design her dream job is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and she is forever thankful for it. She learned a lot this summer about her work and perhaps more importantly, about herself. One of the highlights of the summer was getting to know the other fellows. They were extraordinary in every way: interesting and dedicated, intelligent and fun.